Changes-Are Afoot?

I wish this were true.  I have been contemplating changes for some time now; but I can’t seem to settle on which direction to take. Return to school for a Masters or re-open another cafe, I can’t land on either one.

If I return to school what degree should I take: English, Creative Writing, History, Law, Business?  I am interested in them all.

If I go for cafe where should I open it: in my hometown, or Portland, or somewhere else?  I mean if location is undecided, why not throw all options out there?

Part of my decision is affected by a sense of duty to my father.  I have not always suffered this feeling, in fact I have usually done what made me free.  I keep people at arms length; this makes leaving easier.  I suffer no entanglements.

Of course my greatest regret is walking away from my son.  The courts called it abandonment, while that was not my intent; that is what it was.  And it still stings.

I believe that moving back to Quincy, IL is the World’s or the Universe’s way of giving me a chance not only to mend fences with my father-our relationship has been rocky-but an opportunity to rectify that decision to walk.

The chance is there to make a better decision.  To prove I am different, more mature, I feel I must stay.  Yet I wake up almost every day looking for a way to escape.

It is not the relationship I look to escape-our relationship has never been better.  It is the town and the people, I seek freedom from.

A few weeks ago, my father and I were talking over morning coffee.  I often walk over to his house to check in and chat about life, and work.  Part of the conversation had to do with what I would do next.  He wanted to know if I planned to open another restaurant.

“I don’t know, Dad.  I am scared that I don’t have it in me.  I am scared I will have another Shanghai experience”.

“What is a Shanghai experience?”

I told him. “When I was in China, towards the end of my second year, I went up to Shanghai to look for a job.  There was a big job fair at the Shanghai Library, for foreign workers.  Now I suspected it would all be teaching jobs, but I went hoping there would be one company looking for a foreigner to do a non-teaching job.”

By now my second cup of coffee is finished brewing, so I retrieve it.

Continuing, “When I get to the library it is all schools.  I am dressed in slacks and a freshly pressed button down.  My shoes are polished; and my face is shaved.  I am ready to impress.  And I do.  Many of the schools’ representatives question me at length.  I pick up applications left and right.  I troll the room twice, just to make sure I haven’t overlooked a company which is not a school or private tutor business.  There are none. ”

Dad remains quiet.  My mom would be asking all kinds of questions.  And to every one of them I would answer “I am getting to that.  Wait a minute.”  Of course she would wait about 30 seconds and invariably I would get sidetracked and ramble on some tangent for 5 or 10 minutes.

“So I sit down at a table, with all my applications.  I have my resume, head shots, references, passport and pens.  As I look at the collection of papers in front of me, I begin to think of all the energy, perseverance, and charm I need to complete the process.  I delve deep inside to gather all I need and nothing.  I almost cry.  In a daze I put all my belongings into my bag.  Leaving the applications there, I numbly leave the room and the building.  I am scared to think of opening another restaurant.  I am afraid there is nothing inside if I look.  So I am not even thinking about it.  Instead I am thinking of getting a Masters Degree.”

Dad was supportive of the idea.  He has been supportive of me since I moved back.  It has been a real change for him.  I appreciate the support and the change.

If he hadn’t changed, and still tried to tell me how to be and what to do in life; it would be easy to leave.  I could say I tried and made the effort.  Perhaps I haven’t changed.  Despite all my travels and all my readings, and efforts to improve and become a different person, a better person, I am not that different than the young man who left Quincy 20 years ago.

My mother says that we should bloom where we are planted.  And I have worked hard to be planted some where. anywhere but Quincy.  Yet here I am.  Here I am fighting being planted in this spot.  I work hard to see every deficiency this patch of ground contains.  I long for other ground.  Every spot seems preferable.  Even though I know this to be false.  For I have found spots which contained many deficiencies.

I try to change my mindset, but I find I can not for more than a day or two.  Part of my failure to change lies in the uncertainty of where I want to go in life.  I can’t choose at this time.  My focus comes back to leaving, and the certainty that I will be better able to bloom, if only I where planted elsewhere.

At least I know what I have to change-my perspective.  I just don’t know how to do it.  For when I wake up and see where I am, I can’t block out the deficiencies.

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What Do I Remember Most About Grade School?

Map of USA with Midwest highlighted

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Grade school years, for me were mostly unhappy one, especially during the school year.  I attended a Catholic Grade School and my mother was divorced-twice even.  Plus this was the more prominent parochial schools in the town, i.e lots of money and established families. This was the 70’s and 80’s and we are a small Midwestern town steeped in German tradition.  I got a lot of grief.  I was picked on every day.  It was all very unpleasant.

When not in school I had a good time-for the most part.  I remember there were two or three Halloween Holidays where I camped out with some other kids who were also outcasts at the school.  We would set up camp in someone’s back yard.  We would tell ghost stories, make s’mores, exchange candy and sleep out under the stars-if it wasn’t too cold.

We would wander around the neighborhoods surrounding the school.  We would point out scary houses.  One year we tried to hunt for the ‘Mummy’-this was a man who wrapped his head in hospital gauze and broke into homes attacking woman.  We never found but we had a suspect and in fact we asked the chief of police about this case when he came to the school to talk to us about D.A.R.E. and “Just Say NoNancy Reagan crap.

Those adventures were fun but school for the most part sucked until I left for public school in 8th grade.

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Looking for faults prompt # 5

I have a few faults-but I am not sure they major enough to worry about, except when it comes to dealing with confrontation.  I am not a fan and put off dealing with issues until they are fait accompli.

I like good times and put more energy into having fun and enjoying life.  Confrontation gets in the way of that.  Yet, sometimes I desire to be more forceful and stand up for myself, my beliefs, my issues, concerns and more.  However, I am reluctant to deal with confrontation in any way, let alone a healthy, mature way.

I desire to work on this area.

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